Rep. Cynthia McKinney Outraged By Administration's
Proposed Treatment of Aggrieved Black Farmers
April 10, 1998
"If President Clinton was serious about
this issue it would have already been resolved."
(Washington)- Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)
today announced that she is "outraged and insulted" by
the legislative proposal that the Clinton Administration is planning
to announce to handle the over 2,000 formal complaints and cases
by black farmers against the USDA. "This proposal is unscrupulous
and underhanded and falls short of any attempt at bringing justice".
After years of discrimination and abuse at the
hands of USDA, black farmers who had filed individual administrative
complaints with the USDA, but had been ignored got together last
August and filed a class action suit. After waiting, in some cases
since 1983, for justice and redress and after the UDSA admitted
to past discrimination against the farmers the Clinton Administration
plans to impose yet another level of cumbersome bureaucracy.
Because the discrimination against many of the
farmers occurred so long ago, their cases have "statute of
limitations" conflicts, that is the government can avoid liability
by asserting that the two year time bar prevents them from making
restitution. The Administration's plan to remedy this conflict is
to re-investigate on a case by case basis and make decisions based
on re-evaluation. This will not only delay justice that the farmers
are due but deny them the right to appeal adverse determinations.
This will kill the class action suit. McKinney says she is "disgusted"
by this proposal and that "the Administration is hiding behind
legalese to prevent these black farmers from receiving justice".
In a meeting with McKinney in December the president
said that he would do everything he could within legal authority
to accelerate the settlement of the outstanding cases and that he
would bring moral and political pressure to bear where possible.
Today McKinney said, "it is time for President Clinton to show
some moral fortitude and put some money where his mouth is. How
are we to believe that he will deliver on assisting Sub Saharan
Africa, when his Administration will not do the right thing for
African American farmers right here at home"?